The Rotary Club of Ottawa South
Maybe it's because Ottawa South is home to the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the many other health care facilities located on Smyth Road. Or maybe it's because over the years, our Club has often counted physicians, pediatricians, dentists, chiropractors, veterinarians and optometrists among the many professions in which our members have served. Whatever the reason, health-related charities have been the focus of the majority of good causes supported by the Rotary Club of Ottawa South (RCOS) in the four decades of our history in the National Capital Rotary community.
The RCOS was chartered in June 1967 as a Canada Centennial project of the Rotary Club of Ottawa, whose members recognized the benefits of creating a Club specifically to serve the needs of the swiftly growing community in the southern part of the National Capital Region.
And from the day of our founding, our Club has focused its community service lens on finding ways to assist the many services offered for children, seniors and the disadvantaged in Ottawa South, as well as those located elsewhere who serve the wider area population.
Locally, the RCOS has made significant contributions to the Kidney Research Centre, Easter Seals, Riverside Hospital, the Children's Aid Society, the Shepherds of Good Hope, Operation Go Home, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre and Fairy Godmothers, to name just a small number of hundreds of locally essential good causes we have supported during the past 40 years. But more than simply donating cash, our Club's members are often counted among the many volunteers who contribute their time and their expertise to help these charities with their work, from serving meals at The Mission, to laying down the floor for a new basketball court at the Ottawa Police Youth Centre, building a new cabin at the Y's summer Camp Davern, to ringing the bells at a Salvation Army Christmas Kettle or driving a car for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
Each year, the RCOS holds a sold-out charity golf tournament at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, whose proceeds are donated to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre Foundation.
In July 1986, ROTEL, a 50-room Rotary motel, opened its doors on the grounds of the Ottawa Hospital's General Campus on Smyth Road. ROTEL was, and is, the biggest single project ever undertaken by the RCOS, whose members helped raise the nearly $2 million required to construct it. The building offers clean, modern and low-cost accommodation for out-patients who are undergoing tests or treatment at any of the hospitals in Ottawa, or for their family members during what is often a stressful time in their lives. ROTEL has accomplished something almost unheard of in these times - in the more than two decades since its doors opened, its room rates have never been raised from their initial $23 single / $29 double per night. Since ROTEL's opening, our Club has provided it with its Board of Directors.
Internationally, our Club has helped build and equip homes in the Dominican Republic, schools in Central America, a hospital in Ghana and, very soon, we will be able to point with great pride to our role in helping consign polio to the list of diseases eradicated from the face of the earth. Because of its enormous international membership, Rotary traditionally shines in times of disaster. Frequently it is a local Rotary Club that is first out of the blocks in helping establish links with National Capital Rotary Clubs through which aid, money and emergency supplies are delivered to an earthquake, hurricane or flood-stricken zone halfway around the world.
The Rotary Club of Ottawa South was proud to join with other Ottawa area Rotary clubs in building a new all-abilities park and playground in Brewer Park to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Rotary International. Recently, we have made a significant, annual commitment to the construction of a new Rotary Home, a respite center for families of children and adults requiring constant care. It is projects like this and like Rotel, referenced above, that will serve as a lasting legacy of Rotary's role in the community for whom we share a volunteer and fund raising commitment that is best exemplified by the Rotary motto, "Service Above Self".